The positive buzz around Sonic Frontiers is continuing with the release of its latest gameplay trailer, demonstrating combat and upgrades.
Sonic Frontiers, coming to PS5, Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo Switch on November 8, won’t be a simple dash from A to B across the Starfall Islands. Sonic will have plenty of alien-like enemies to deal with along the way. Thankfully, the game’s latest trailer shows that our boy’s prepared to take them on with a new and improved arsenal of attacks and abilities.
Better yet, the new additions look really fun to use. The trailer shows off moves like the improved homing attack and drop dash, alongside brand new additions like Phantom Rush, which has Sonic leaving afterimages of himself as he dazzles foes with a flurry of punches and kicks. Then there’s the Sonic Boom. A cheeky reference, but also an attack with Sonic firing off a string of arched projectiles that would leave Street Fighter 6’s Guile blushing.
After the disastrous early reveal, each trailer has done a little bit to restore Sonic Frontier’s image. As a long-time Sonic fan, I’m actually becoming won over to this game and think it may be quite good.
So combat in Sonic Frontiers looks like it doesn’t suck. But why is that such a big deal? Well, quite simply because combat is something that Sonic games rarely have – if ever – managed to get right.
Shadow the Hedgehog completely missed the mark with its unwieldy (and horrendously edgy) focus on gun-based combat. Sonic and the Black Knight, a game I feel is pretty underrated, was let down by its insistence on Wii motion-based swordplay. Sonic Unleashed got close with its Werehog combat sections and an almost fighting game-like moveset, but it felt sluggish and undercooked to play.
Sonic Frontiers represents a sea change in that it’s the first time I’ve seen combat in a Sonic game and thought, ‘Yeah, that actually looks really good’. Obviously, we won’t really know how these new abilities and their upgrades feel until we have the game in our hands. But compared to even the relatively recent Sonic Forces, Frontiers looks decidedly more polished overall.